For the last couple of weeks, I have been a little unwell. It was just the common cold to start with, but its intensity increased and when it coupled with severe coughing and throat inflammation, it became awful. As most part of my job involves talking, I decided to do without that and took couple of days off from work.

I stayed at home most of the time, slept during the day which is a luxury for me, did mundane things like organizing the playlist in my iPod (which I had been procrastinating for years), watching football, playing with Anirud etc. I even wrote few posts in my now defunct blog. During this time, I purposefully remained incommunicado from work by keeping my Blackberry on mute, although I was aware of the fireworks that were going on in the office – that needed my attention.

Today as I got ready to commute to work, I realized that the last two days were my best days in the recent memory. I was able to switch off all my work related concerns, be able to relax, do stuff that I liked, not be concerned about having to negotiate something for someone. Simply put, it feels great – even when I haven’t recovered completely and even when I am staring at the mountain load of stuff waiting to be done. It took this long for me to realize that one doesn’t need to go on a holiday to relax. What is more, we even quietly started our tenth year of married life yesterday. Isn’t that blissful?

Banking Experience

Recently, I had the misfortune of visiting a nationalised bank in Bangalore to carry out few simple financial transactions. Apart from availing the locker facility at the above bank, as I didn’t foresee doing any day-to-day operations at the bank, I did not avail their internet or mobile banking facilities. There were about 50 customers in the bank at that time and the amount of time it took to complete those transactions was a good 3 hours. Due to the fact that I could afford to wait that long and also since I didn’t have any other choice, I waited (quite impatiently). They neither feel that making a customer wait for this long reflects bad on them, nor do they have the willingness to do anything to change the situation. No wonder the younger population of India turn towards the more customer oriented private banks. I am not sure if I can make that statement, as I have never been to any of the private banks in the recent memory – but I doubt if they can afford the amount of laxity and callousness displayed by their nationalised counterparts.

Service delay is not the only point of concern for me. My worry is the total disregard of processes. A certain transaction has to be approved by three different people and in the above said branch, there were not that many people available on that day. What the staff did was utterly shocking. They called up another staff member who was on leave but was glad to share her password, logged into the system as the other staff member and carried out the transaction. All this in broad daylight in front of the customers. What was supposed to be a three layer check was bypassed in a simple phone call. If this is not a wilful disregard for the procedures, then what else is? What if there is an audit tomorrow where it was questioned as how a person on leave can authorize a financial transaction? May be there is a way to bypass that gateway as well.

I am sure that this problem would be prevalent across various banks in India. Despite education, growth and other feel good factors, we still haven’t come of age w.r.t. compliance. Wonder what it will take for that realization to happen.

Celebrity Nominations

Media is getting orgasms over Sachin Tendulkar refusing the Government bungalow allocated for him in New Delhi. That the said bungalow was located next door to Rahul Gandhi caused them to be hyperactive. Perhaps, they expected Sachin or Rahul to pop over to each other’s home to ask for a cup of sugar or salt, when they ran out of it. If the nomination of Sachin Tendulkar to the Upper House of the Parliament is symbolic, his refusal to occupy the quarters provided to him is even more so. It was funny when he said that he didn’t want to waste tax payer’s money. Where was his so-called concern towards the tax payer when he requested customs waiver for his Ferrari few years ago?

The fault is not Sachin’s. Perhaps, it lies in the way we view the celebrities. When an individual stands out in his/her field, for some reason we expect the person to have the same aptitude in every possible arena. More often than not, they fail miserably and they stand out like a sore thumb, when the failure happens at a serious place. Not just in terms of performance, we also expect the individuals to be a super hero all the time and never cave in, whatever be the lure.

I don’t have any grouse on Sachin Tendulkar. There are numerous examples of celebrities being nominated for Rajya Sabha and not being able to come up to the mark. Lata Mangeshkar is one example. Unfortunately, we haven’t learnt our lessons here. Considering the way things are in India, we should feel fortunate that it is not the other way around. Think about having few of our MPs in the cricket / hockey teams. Worse still, what if they start singing?

Tamil Music Channels

Does any one have any idea why people send gibberish text messages to Tamil music channels? I don’t get that logic at all. If they do want to convey some message to another person, they could very well pick up the phone and talk / SMS them, rather than paying premium to these TV channels.

This totally defies logic and to think that there are hundreds of morons who do that everyday drives me nuts. I tune into these channels for the only reason that the golden oldie songs that are being telecast by these channels are really good. Perhaps the best way to avoid looking at these channels would be to close one’s eyes and listen to the audio part of it. But then, why would you need a telly for that?